Blythe Gifford – Finding My Tribe

Hi friends!

Welcome to the 5th Annual Read-A-Romance Month!

While I read romance all year long, August is the month we celebrate this awesome genre!  Come back every day to read all three “Power of Romance” posts. Check out the full calendar of authors here. You can also find links to the last four years’ posts from the boxes in the sidebar, and if you’d like, you can follow RARM on Facebook.

Happy August!

#LoveRomance #ThePowerOfRomance

The Power of the Romance Community

My first thought when I heard the theme “The Power of Romance,” was to write of one of the most powerful things I know: The Romance Community.

The power of those who love romance – readers, writers, reviewers, librarians, and organizations formal and informal – is among the most formidable on the planet.

I learned this early on when, having decided to finally write seriously, I walked into my first Romance Writers of America conference alone, knowing absolutely nothing and no one.  (Those who have attended an RWA Conference will understand the true enormity of this statement.)  But as a naïve innocent, I was immediately swept up by a chapter from Canada (forgive me, I’ve forgotten which one) who took me under their wing so I would not be immediately trampled.  I quickly met members of my local chapter, Chicago North, became a member, and later, served as manuscript chair and chapter president.  Like so many other authors, I can truly say if it were not for RWA, I would not be published.

The power of RWA to bring writers together, to help us write (and publish and sell) better books, and to represent our needs within the industry is something I have seen in no other writing genre.

But the community is more than its formal voice.  The networks of readers and writers of romance are global and take many forms: blogger communities, Facebook and Goodreads groups, book clubs.  When two romance readers meet, there is an immediate sense of kinship.

My romance community exists most strongly in the connections with individual author friends who serve as cheerleaders, counselors, and critics depending on the situation.  Writing IS a solitary job.  You must do it alone.  But as a romance writer, you need never be lonely.

I am part of three informal tribes, whose nicknames are the Divas, the Hussies, and the Hermits, which aptly sums up the various aspects of a romance writer’s life.  The Divas are a group of local writers who get together periodically to catch up on life and the business of writing.  The Hussies are my fellow Harlequin Historical authors.  Scattered across the globe, we bond long distance and help each other navigate not only the realities of our particular publisher and sub-genre, but the million ills that flesh is heir to over a long life and career. Finally, the Hermits gather once a year for a writing retreat.  We have been doing this for more years than I can count and it is a week that sustains us almost until we reach the next year.  The power of these communities to support me, and each other, is immeasurable.

But the power of the community is not only personal.  It is financial.  Romance readers have created and sustained a $1.08 billion market. (Read more at the RWA industry statics  page .)  They have been open to stories that range from erotic to evangelical, from traditional to diverse, and they recognize that love is love is love is love by reading romance that goes beyond a man and a woman.  In in this digital age, they have, and exercise, their power to read widely, to share their opinions, to connect with one another and with authors in a way unimaginable when I started writing seriously more than 20 years ago.  And from the point of view of an author, a note or review from a happy reader is the most powerful force there is when it comes to keeping me at the keyboard.  Readers continue to support and sustain authors and books and we love them all!

So here is to the Power of all aspects of the Romance Community!  Long may we prosper!

 

Blythe recommends:

In connection with my theme, I’d like to mention four authors who have been part of my community:

Jenni Fletcher   –   jennifletcher.com     –   @Amazon

A new friend and fellow Hussy, I mean Harlequin Historical author,  Jenni also writes the medieval time period, so we can bond over the details of medieval clothes, food, and armor.

Beverly Long   –    www.beverlylong.com     –    @Amazon

Harlequin Romantic Suspense author, longtime friend and fellow Hermit.  She and the next writer and I celebrate our birthdays together each year.  Her Harlequin Intrigue, DEEP SECRETS, is nominated for a Maggie Award this year.

 

Michelle Jean Marie    –     www.michellejeanmarie.com     –     @Amazon

Michelle Jean Marie and I met at that very first RWA Conference.  A fellow historical romance writer, she was a Golden Heart finalist, but “life intrusions” made her journey to publication a long one.  Her first book, TEMPTING FATE, has just come out and I couldn’t be happier!

 

Pat White      –      patwhitewriter.com      –      @Amazon

While I’m a one trick pony, my dear friend Pat White is a quadruple threat, writing romantic comedy, romantic suspense, young adult, and screenplays!  I’m in awe!


Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment when you felt or were aware of the power of romance.

Every year when I walk into the Romance Writers of America Conference I am overwhelmed by the power of this remarkable community – all dedicated believers in the power of a happy ending!  And it astounds me to think of the scope of romance – from the intimacy of two people in love to an international powerhouse of writers and readers.  Wonderful!

 

Tell us about a powerful book you read this year (or one that’s so powerful you’ve never forgotten it).

The book that started it all for me was KATHERINE by Anya Seton.  It’s the real life story of the lifelong mistress of the son of the English king.  Late in life, they married, and their descendants sat on the throne of England.  It taught me that love can change the course of history!  And that’s what I write about.

Tell us about a person who’s had a powerful influence on your life.

I’ll tell you about two!  Michelle Jean Marie and Pat White, mentioned above, have been dear friends of mine for longer than I can count.  Every morning, we sent each other a quick email listing three things we are grateful for from the previous day.  (And a few things on our respective to do lists!)  You’ve probably read the research that proves an “attitude of gratitude” makes a difference and it is true.  This simple practice has changed my life (and theirs, too, I think) and for that, and for their continued friendship, I am truly grateful.

Main Drawing:

Blythe is generously giving away reader’s choice of a print copy of the Royal Wedding Stories: SECRETS AT COURT, WHISPERS AT COURT, or RUMORS AT COURT.  To enter, leave a comment below by 11:59 pm PST August 19, 2017. (US only)

She is also sponsoring the tote & cup combo! (see below for more information)

There are many more drawings too—including international book bundles! See the bottom of the post for more information.

 

 


Blythe Gifford started writing seriously after a corporate layoff. Ten years and one layoff later, she became an overnight success when she sold her first book to the Harlequin Historical line.

Set in Medieval England and Scotland, her books incorporate real historical events and characters.  The Chicago Tribune has called her work “the perfect balance between history and romance.”

 

Learn more:

www.blythegifford.com    |    Facebook     |     Twitter @BlytheGifford

 

Buy Blythe’s books:

availableon-amazon       availableon-nook    availableon-kobo

*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and many text links connect to a Read-A-Romance Month affiliate portal. Thanks so much for your help & support!

#LoveRomance   #The PowerofRomance    #ReadARomance


MORE DRAWINGS!

Each RARM post will have one main drawing each day (posted above). Authors are also contributing to weekly (US only) bundles, which will be drawn at the end of the week. Each bundle will consist of at least five books and the amount of bundles will depend on the amount of books the authors contribute.

(Blythe is contributing to the US bundles, and sponsoring the cup/tote giveaway.)

To enter to win these bundles, send an email to Week2@ReadARomanceMonth.com with “Bundles” in the signature line. (1 entry per email address per week)

International friends!

Rather than individual drawings off posts, this year we’ll do sets of books, 3+, depending on how many authors contribute. To enter, send an email to Week2@ReadARomanceMonth.com with “International” in the signature line. (1 entry per email address per week)

Week 2 contests are Aug 9 through Aug. 16

For the 5th Annual Read-A-Romance Month, many of the contributing authors  are supporting an extra-special drawing – high quality tote bags and mugs printed with a fun, pro-romance image (see below).

Read-A-Romance Month, through the generous support of many of the authors, is giving away at least 30 mug & tote combos.

Plus, at least two lucky winners will win a Read-A-Romance Month “Month of Books” Mega Bundle, consisting of 31 books!

To enter these exciting drawings,  send an email to August@ReadARomanceMonth.com (US only, apologies to international friends – though keep an eye out later in the month.

(US only, apologies to international friends – though keep an eye out later in the month. I may include an international cup/tote combo.)

You will not be automatically added to a newsletter, and I promise not to sell or give your email addresses to anyone. I do reserve the right to send you an invitation to sign up for my newsletter, which will also have opportunities to win more prizes and great romance reading tips!

 

Check out all three great posts everyday in August at ReadARomanceMonth.com.  Or you can find the posts on the RARM Facebook page.  Also consider joining the Read-A-Romance Book Club page, where we discuss romance of all kinds and will have drawings and events throughout the year.

#LoveRomance  #HappyReading  #ReadARomance

  • cheryl c.

    We all need a “tribe”, don’t we?

    • Indeed. Writers in particular need support to keep going when it’s just you and the blank screen.

  • Julie Ann Walker

    Wonderful post! I’m so tickled to be part of your “tribe.” And please know, you are an integral part of mine. I always appreciate your advice, savvy, and no-holds-barred take on the industry every time the Divas meet. Cheers, and happy writing!

    • And the Divas are all thanks to you! I still remember that first gathering. Look what we’ve become!

  • Sue G.

    How awesome that you have such great friends that you interact with everyday. Nice write up!

    • Thanks. That daily connection has really made a difference.

  • Janice Laird

    My first conference was Chicago North’s Spring Fling, and that was overwhelming enough. I can’t imagine the bravery it took for you to head out to Nationals as a rookie! Yes, when you are among romance writers, you are with kindred spirits!

    • Only brave because I had NO idea what I was walking into! After the initial shock, it was all wonderful things. And yes, meeting a fellow writer is like meeting a friend you didn’t know yet.

  • Terri Brisbin

    You have some great tribes there, Blythe! Glad to be part of 2 of them and thank you for the support and inspiration YOU provide…and for your wonderful stories!

    • Awww. Thanks! I DO have some wonderful tribes and glad you are part of them.

  • lcgiroux

    I miss the Divas horribly! I’m still looking for my tribe in Central ME but the crazy thing is because of the romance community I know it is a matter of ‘when’ I find them not, ‘if’ I find them!

    • We miss you, too! But tribes can be at a distance. And yes, you will find your local romance community, too.

  • Patricia Rosemoor

    Great blog! I don’t have as many “tribes” as I used to, but I still have the Divas. 🙂

  • Glenda

    Excellent post on the importance of ‘tribes’. I do have to admit the geek in me is a tad bit disappointed you didn’t close with “Live long and prosper!” 😉

    • But you got the reference anyway!

      • Glenda

        Of course I did! I guess that reference could be considered a mainstay in another tribe…

  • MaryC

    Have you met any of the Hussies?

    • Some have traveled to the RWA Conference over the years, so I have been fortunate enough to meet Hussies from around the globe.

  • It has been quite a journey, Blythe! I’m honored to have made it with you!

    • I still remember the day we met at RWA – what a journey indeed!

  • Patty Vasquez

    Sometimes social networking is a good thing, especially when it allows our community (I include myself as a dedicated reader) to stay connected. I love your daily habit of sharing 3 things for which you’re thankful on a daily basis; and how special to share it with you’re best friends!

    • Virtual tribes are a real benefit of this new age. And I LOVE being in touch with readers. Thanks so much!

  • Pamby50

    I’m so glad you found your tribe. I like that you email 3 things to your friends every day. I will have to do this with my 2 best friends.

    • It is really a life-changing habit. When we began, it was often a struggle to think of three good things in a day. Now, more often than not, we’ll do four, or six, and then email later to say “I forgot THIS good thing that happened.” Hope it does the same for you and your friends.

  • Kezia King

    The romance community rocks! Thanks for the awesome post! 🙂

  • Kristine R

    The romance reading community sure is an awesome thing. Meeting new people and building friendships

  • Tori Valenzuela

    Love the book community! Met lots of friends and amazing people through the social media book world!

    • Exactly! Glad you’ve had the same wonderful experiences!

  • Booklover

    I still haven’t read Katherine by Anya Seton, but I’ve been meaning to for a while. Maybe it’s time to bump it up my list.

    • On the first day of Read a Romance Month, Beatriz Williams also mentioned Katherine. May it IS time!

  • Emmel

    I just got back from a business trip to Australia, during which I connected with a Twitter friend and then was invited to a reader group meeting. And this was a week after another Aussie Twitter friend came to NYC and I met her there. The world is smaller than we think it is, and romance is one way to discover that.

    • I love being in touch with international fans! Through the magic of Google Translate, I can even “talk” to readers in Brazil!

  • catslady

    The best part of the internet is being able to talk with so many people about things we love!